This Valentine’s Day, as we celebrate American Heart Month, we want you to think beyond the heart-shaped boxes filled with delectable chocolatey candy treats, over-sized stuffed creatures, and whether or not you have a date (Chicago does seem to have some great singles events on the calendar)…
According to the National Health Institute, coronary heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. But that’s not meant to bring you down! We want you to be your healthiest and happiest, not just for Cupid’s Day, but every day, so we’ve compiled some tips. Please take them to heart…
Try these tips from the American Heart Association to stay heart healthy by managing stress:
- Get physical – That’s right. The leading authority on heart health says to get to the gym. Better do it! We know of a good one if you need some ideas…
- Let go of bad habits – From smoking to over worrying, there’s no time like the present to start fresh.
- Slow down – Life ain’t a track meet. It’s a marathon. Pace, don’t race.
- Laugh - Check out Second City. Watch a funny movie. Push someone down (just kidding… but I’ll bet that made you laugh).
- Sleep - No brainer. Make the time.
- Get organized – Declutter your mind by cleaning out your inbox, your closet, your fridge. Whatever keeps you up at night.
- Relax - Deep breaths, my friend. Let go of what you can’t change. It will all be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.
- Find pleasure in your everyday life – The sun. White snow. Your family. That donut… Just kidding again!
Get fit. Union Station Fitness Director, Josh, knows how important this tip is. The heart is a muscle, so it needs to be worked like the rest of them! Cardio, strength training and stretching all improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and stress, and revving up feel-good hormones, helping keep your mood light and your mind clear:
- Cardio - Walk on the treadmill at an incline if you’re new to exercising, or take it a step further by joining a running club or Spin class
- Strength - Basic sit-ups, push-ups and body-weight squats are good for beginners, but you can kick it up a notch with a HIIT class or boot camp
- Stretch: If you’re not Gumby, get in the habit of stretching in the morning or before bed. When you’re comfortable, take up a yoga or Pilates class (which have benefits all their own!)
Yoga and Pilates are good for your body, mind and spirit by helping you gain balance and focus.
- You’ll live longer – Standing on your head reverses blood flow to the brain, giving you a boost while restoring energy to keep you young!
- Your risk for diseases (like heart!) decrease – Meditating, focusing on your breath, staying in the moment, all help to relieve stress. Let it all go!
- Bye bye back pain – Stretching and strengthening your back muscles help to keep you upright with no tweaks. (Listen to your body in class, and don’t overdo if you’re not comfortable)
- Be happy – Practicing yoga releases serotonin, the “happy” hormone, which also regulates appetite, mood and sleep.
- Let if flow - Circulation and respiration both improve as you learn to lower your respiratory rate. Better oxygen and blood flow means happy, healthy organs.
- Yeah baby! – Women who stay fit throughout pregnancy tend to have leaner, healthier, calmer babies.
You might plan to spend the day with your two greatest loves: and one of them will be food. Registered dietitian, Jessica, suggests sticking to the following to keep your ticker in tip-top shape!
- Salmon - Salmon contains EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Eat two servings a week to reap the benefits of lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
- Nuts - In addition to protein, the unsaturated fats found in tree nuts lower the bad cholesterol while boosting the good. An ounce of nuts a day helps relax blood vessels and ease blood flow.
- Apples - An apple a day keeps the doctor, and heart disease, away! The soluble fiber lowers bad cholesterol.
- Beans - Besides protein, beans pack a punch in folate, which reduces risk of heart disease.
- Dark chocolate – Yay chocolate! The flavonoids found in cacao contain magnesium, which is essential for normal heart function.
- Superstitious? Kick your Valentine’s night into high gear with Maca root, honey, avocado, curry, ginger and parsley! Ask Jessica why at email@example.com.
Just because you can have chocolate doesn’t mean you should go overboard… Remember, everything in moderation! Check out Registered Dietitian, Carla’s, nutrition blog for more heart-healthy tips!
Blog courtesy of Allie Kuopus, Social Media and Communications Manager. Contact Allie at firstname.lastname@example.org.